GAZELLE STAKES | PURSE: $300,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD | FILLIES | GRADE 2 | 1 1/8-MILES
Trainer Todd Pletcher's domination of East Coast preps for the Kentucky Oaks continued Saturday when My Miss Sophia led throughout in winning the Grade 2, $300,000 Gazelle at Aqueduct by an emphatic 7 ¼ lengths.
The 4-5 favorite against five rivals in the 1 1/8-mile test, My Miss Sophia set modest splits of :24 ⅕ seconds, :48 ⅕ seconds and 1:12 ⅕ while maintaining a lead between one and two lengths. In the stretch, the daughter of Unbridled's Song extended her lead and finished up in a time of 1:50 ⅖ over a fast track.
Ridden by Javier Castellano, My Miss Sophia paid $3.60 to win.
"It went how we thought it might on paper," said Pletcher, who also saddled In Tune to win the Gulfstream Oaks and the late Onlyforyou to win the Davona Dale and Forward Gal at Gulfstream over the winter. "It looked like [My Miss Sophia] was the only speed, but you never know how a race is going to unfold. It certainly played out the way we thought it would."
Got Lucky, the second choice at 5-2 and also trained by Pletcher, added to her previous second-place finishes in the Demoiselle and Rachel Alexandra by gaining the place, a half-length ahead of 3-1 third choice Sweet Reason. Vero Amore, Bird Maker and Wraith completed the order of finish.
"We felt like Got Lucky ran well also," said Pletcher, who will now point both fillies to the Kentucky Oaks. "While the pace scenario was good for My Miss Sophia, it worked against the other filly. But it hopefully set her up. And she got a little squeezed at the start."
My Miss Sophia heads to Churchill Downs with two wins from three starts. Following a debut second in a 5 ½-furlong maiden at Gulfstream on February 9, the Mathis Stable-owned filly stretched out to a mile on March 9 and cruised by 11 lengths against another maiden field over the same track. She's now earned $211,800.
Bred in Kentucky by John Gunther and sold as a Keeneland September yearling for $260,000, My Miss Sophia was produced by the Grade 2-placed stakes winner Wildwood Flower, a daughter of Langfuhr. Wildwood Flower is a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Eye of the Tiger, and to the dam of Grade 1 winner Afleet Express and multiple stakes winner Reporting for Duty.
This extended family includes Grade 1 winner Snow Ridge, Grade 2 winners Fiftyshadesofhay and Sweetnorthernsaint, and multiple Grade 3 victor Fighting Fantasy.